When Scott Brown and his wife began the snowy trek to a popular waterfall in Washington this week, they noticed a black dog all by himself at the trailhead. But the fluffy pup didn’t really seem lost or distressed.
“I made a joke to my wife that it was a bear,” Brown told The Dodo. And as the two started out on the seven-mile hike, their new furry friend joined them, leading the way as their guide.
“He took the lead anywhere from a couple feet, to way out in front, out of sight,” Brown said, adding that the dog stayed with them for the entire hike. “He would sit and wait for us as we took photos and then continue on when we did.”
It wasn’t until they reached the waterfall that Brown thought to check the dog’s ID tags. After all, he’d been alone but looked pretty healthy and well-fed. He had to belong to someone. But Brown realized he had nothing to worry about when he saw the message on the scratched-up tag.
“Hi, I’m Smokey,” it read. “I live nearby so please don’t take me. I like to follow hikers sometimes.”
On the other side, it read, “Don’t worry, I’ll go home when I get tired. My people love me a lot. Thanks for being nice!”
As the couple made their way back down to the trailhead, Smokey led the way once again. As it turns out, Smokey lives in a neighborhood very close to the parking lot, and as Brown and his wife were preparing to drive away, he parted with his new friends, ready to go home.
“He stayed in the lot until we were all changing near our cars and he calmly walked across the road and back into the neighborhood,” Brown said. “At the corner, he gave out a quick bark at us then continued on back home, I assume.”
Here’s hoping Smokey stays safe!